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movie reviews

Disappointing, especially since I wanted to like this film. Starring the founder of the “No shirt, no problem” campaign Matthew McConaughey and the universally beloved actress Anne Hathaway, Interstellar leaves the audience saying, “Well, I guess even Christopher Nolan can’t win them all.” The middle 1 hour 45 minutes is a damn good piece of cinema: spectacular, exciting, strong twists, good pacing, and it’s just plain gorgeous. But the first and last 30 minutes will leave you cold and full of questions, like: —If a movie is named Interstellar, then why the hell am I spending more time in the American dirt than a Georgia peanut farmer? —Why does the plot’s conclusion feel so lazy? Like “drunk at noon” lazy? —Wait, so this ISN’T the “I’m a singing French prostitute” Anne Hathaway movie?! Well shit. Running a mind bending 2 hours and 45 minutes, Interstellar is far more SciFi than its trailer suggests. Now I’m nerdy as hell, so I was fine with it. But the SciFi nature of it will turn off a majority of general audiences. If you like SciFi, see it on the biggest screen you can find. It’s worth it. If not, don’t see it at all. Wait for it on Netflix.

#NATIONAL Today’s most beautiful story: a kid dressed up in a Teletubby costume, broke into his friend’s house, dumped their leftover Chinese into his man purse, and left; It’s the Giants, again; #nope fake clowns terrorizing France; Starbucks will deliver so you don’t have to walk fifty feet ; J.K. …

The Skinny (No Spoilers) When I was in high school, my U.S. history professor said that the biggest mistake that teachers make is to not teach past World War II. Whether it is from spending too much time on the Civil War or on the outsized personalities of revolutionary presidents, most professors run out of time at the end of the year and are only able to get us to 1945. As a result, we have kids that know what happened at the constitutional convention, but don’t know about those events that still directly impact their contemporary worlds: What caused the first Gulf War? What is the Civil Right Acts? What the hell happened during the Vietnam War? Last Days in Vietnam is a damn good documentary on the evacuation of the American embassy in Saigon in 1975. The famous picture of people scurrying to the roof to board a helicopter has been burned into a generation of American memories, rightly or wrongly, as a symbol of the wars futility (even though the roof shown is not actually that of the embassy). Directed by Rory Kennedy, who won an Emmy for the documentary Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, Last Days of Vietnam uses interviews from former embassy workers and soldiers, American and Vietnamese, to paint of rich narrative of those chaotic days. Running a quick 98 minutes, Last Days in Vietnam moves quick as a bunny, while still giving the viewer the necessary context. This is a must watch for those within Generation Y, since it is highly unlikely they have read, or heard, much about these April events.

“Expendable” is a perfect description of what the director must have thought of this script. Every sentence that doesn’t exit the mouth of Mel Gibson or Antonio Banderas is just like a drunk freshman at the bar: a god damn train wreck. However, if you 1) are ok with ear-melting dialog and 2) wanna see a tank-load of fistfights, gun play, and explosions, you might just find this film enjoyable. Sometimes you just need an old school, dumb as dirt action movie. You have seen this movie’s trailers. The movie is exactly what you imagine it is like. Unfortunately, there are also no real surprises. Pity. Wait for it on Netflix and then watch only while having a boring Saturday afternoon.

As close to a “sequel” as Garden State will ever receive. Just as Garden State was the story of a young man’s quarter-life crisis, Wish I Was Here is a two hour overview of a far more concrete occurrence that will eventually find us all. With a cast to die for, a solid soundtrack, and tight story, Wish I Was Here is a damn good movie. Problems? A few of the scenes feel extraneous. The dialog and acting feel awkward at times. But it does not permanently damage the movie. You will feel ALL THE FEELS. You will cry. I sure as hell did. It won’t win any awards, but it deserves your attention.  See it during your late-20’s/early 30’s. Trust me.

Sequel. Few words in entertainment hold as much possibility . . . and potential for failure. Without the burden of world building from scratch, the storytellers have the entire two-ish hours to tell their tale: The Godfather II; The Empire Strikes Back; Aliens; The Dark Knight; Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan. However they can also try to accomplish too much in too short a time, flooding the zone with characters and plot line to a point where it is becomes one big mess: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; The Matrix Reloaded; Speed II. Hell, even Legally Blonde II feel far below its predecessor in quality. In the end, a lot of right and a helluva lotta wrong can occur in the second movie. It is within this paradigm that we find “22 Jump Street”, the newest installment of the buddy cop genre featuring faux-Chippendales dancer Channing Tatum, and our favorite AARP-version of humpty dumpty, Jonah Hill. It’s hilarious and better than the first one, plain and simple. The two main characters shine, the side characters get a lot more screen time, and the plot is not a carbon copy of the first (a classic flaw that dooms most sequels). However, its self-aware nature really makes this stand out. They “get it”, are in on the jokes, and just wanna have a good time.

Let’s lay our cards on the table, shall we? This is a good movie, but you will not have a good time at this movie. I would say that the movie is an emotional roller coaster, but that would imply that it actually goes up at some point. Everyone in the theatre was sniffling, whimpering, or straight up balling except for me. But that’s not because I’m heartless: I wept like an 18th century French poet during the first 10 minutes of “Up”. The cast makes the characters relatable and sympathetic. It has good pacing and writing that, while not award winning, accomplishes its mission. Buy a ticket or wait for Netflix, either is an acceptable option. Just be prepared to contemplate the mortality of your friends, family, and self for multiple hours after it’s over.

Ladies and gentlemen FamousDC presents Neighbors: The Review. The Skinny (No spoilers) Neverland. That’s the term that one of my former coworkers used to describe D.C., a city full of people who seem to be repeatedly hitting the snooze button on their adulthood. “Just five more minutes…I have a free …